As a left-hander, you are going to be at an inherent disadvantage playing baseball. Most of the positions favor right-hand players, and if you use your left hand, then you are really going to have your work cut out for you. That being said, there are some positions where left-hand players can thrive. In fact, there are some positions where left-hand players are preferred. So, what is the best position for left handed baseball players?
On this page, we are going to take a look at the best positions for left-handed players in baseball. We are going to, hopefully, steer people towards the positions that they are most likely to thrive in while, at the same time, ensuring that left-handers know that they really can succeed in a good majority of positions out there on the field.
Since we have a lot to cover, let’s just jump right on in!
Table of Contents
What Baseball Positions Can Lefties Play?
Let’s start by having a bit of a discussion on the positions that lefties will be able to play. Unless a left-handed baseball player is able to learn how to use their right hand just as well, then it is likely that they are going to end up falling into one of these three positions.
Before we go any further, we want to point out that no player should pigeonhole themselves too early in development. In some team sports like volleyball, players have to develop strong play with both hands even if one hand is dominant. Sure, there are fewer options for left-handed baseball players out there on the field. However, you still have three options. Any aspiring player should get a feel for each of these positions over the course of several years. They are much more likely to discover what they are talented at like that. Plus, playing multiple positions ensures a better knowledge of the game.
First Base is the best infield position for left handed players. IN fact, of all the positions out there on the field, first base is the one position where having a left-handed player is preferred.
When a fielder throws a ball toward first base, the player on first base needs to catch it as quickly as possible. The least amount of movement, the better.
A left-handed player is much more likely to catch the balls hurled to them from the fielders. This is because the glove is on the right hand, and thus they have to turn a lot less to grab that ball. Left-handed players on first base also have a much easier time angling themselves towards the balls that have been thrown at them.
A left-handed baseball player cannot play on any other base, nor can they play shortstop. They will struggle to angle their body to grab the ball. If a left-handed player is on any base other than the first one, then the team is at a disadvantage.
Yes. There have been left-handed catchers in the MLB. However, they are incredibly rare. You get one every decade or so. This is because left-handed catchers can’t angle the ball well. They will struggle to throw the ball over the head of the hitter.
A good left-handed pitcher is worth their weight in gold. They are heavily sought-after in the big leagues. In fact, the term southpaw became common for left-handed pitchers in the early 19th century.
Most hitters are used to playing against right-handed pitchers. When a left-handed pitcher is thrown into the mix, the way in which they hit the ball will change. If a left-handed pitcher knows how to throw a curveball, then most hitters are going to stand absolutely no chance against them.
Some of the absolute best pitchers in the MLB have been left-handed pitchers.
A left-handed player should have absolutely no issues covering any position out there in the outfield. While there are some positions that they will likely play a little bit better (more on that soon), a left-handed player can succeed just about anywhere on the outfield.
The reason why left-handed players are able to succeed in any position in the outfield is that there are no tight angles. There is no need to adjust the body to throw to a certain base. You are just facing forward all the time.
Of course, it doesn’t really matter what hand you manage to catch that ball with. All that really matters is that you catch it.
We know that playing in an outfield position is not always going to be the most exciting position for baseball players to play. However, trust us. If you are a good outfield player, then you have the ability to win games for your team. There is nothing quite like the feeling of catching a ball that is hurtling towards you and making that catch. You can almost imagine the roar of the crowd!
What Outfield Position Should a Lefty Play?
As we said before, a left-handed player could really play any position in the outfield. There are advantages to playing certain positions, but we have seen plenty of left-handed outfielders in MLB that have played across positions.
Generally speaking, most left-handed players should be positioned close to the left foul line. They will find it a little bit easier to catch any ball that comes in their direction.
That being said, there are times when a left-handed player may want to play on the right foul line. Plenty of left-handed players have (Babe Ruth was one of them). If you have a strong throw, then the right field is the absolute perfect position for a lefty.
As before, a player will likely want to check out a few different positions early on in their playing life. This means checking out both the right and the left-hand side of the field. This will allow them to get a feel for which one they perform better in.
If you end up being a good outfield player, then you should be able to fall into any position that the team needs. You are going to be comfortable in any of them, and you are not going to be at any disadvantage just because you are playing with your left hand.
Do Lefties Have an Advantage in Baseball?
We have talked a little bit about how lefties have disadvantages in certain positions. So, what do you say? Should we roll back the negativity a little bit and, instead, have a look at the advantages that the lefties have in certain positions? In fact, baseball is a pretty good career path for lefties in sports compared to some other sports.
We have already covered this briefly.
A first-base player should almost always be a left-handed player. This is due to the angles that they need to throw the ball at.
A left-handed player should easily be able to launch the ball to whatever base that ball needs to be at. They should be able to launch it right from the catch.
Things are more difficult for right-handed players here. This is because they need to turn ever so slightly in order to get the ball at the correct angle.
Baseball is an incredibly fast-paced game. Every fraction of second counts, especially when you want the ball to hit the base in the nick of time. Because of this, it is incredibly rare that you will see any team in the MLB stick somebody that isn’t left-handed on the first base.
This is the first position in baseball where players have an advantage. There is no other base in the game where a left-handed player will actually work.
Did you know that 70% of all pitchers in the MLB are right-handed? This means that, statistically, seven out of every ten pitchers that a hitter faces will be right-handed.
This means that right-handed hitters are going to be throwing a huge amount of effort into practicing their positioning against right-handed pitchers. They will know exactly what to do when they have a right-handed pitcher standing in front of them.
Throw a left-handed pitcher into the mix? Yeah. The hitter isn’t going to like that. It becomes much harder for them to hit the ball because they are so used to dealing with right-handed pitchers. Their positioning isn’t quite right, and it will be very difficult for the player to judge the way that the ball is moving as it sails through the air.
If a left-handed pitcher is able to throw a good curveball, then the hitter is going to struggle very hard to hit it. The ball ends up in a position that is nigh on impossible for them to reach, and a fast pitcher will ensure that they struggle to adjust their positioning.
Throw in the platoon advantage, and a lefty hitter will have an even harder time against a lefty pitcher because pitchers have a same/same hand advantage, whereas hitters have a same/opposite hand advantage.
Honestly, if you are a good left-handed pitcher, then you are really going to be going places. And you may not even need to throw as fast as most right-handed pitchers because just about everybody that you face in any baseball game will struggle to deal with your pitches. You are going to be a real asset to the team, and your pitching style seriously could win games.
Did you know that studies have shown that left-handed hitters are at an advantage against right-handed pitchers? Since most pitchers in a game of baseball are going to be pitching right-handed, the left-handed hitter is at an automatic advantage. Plus, as we explained above, the platoon advantage favors hitters when they face an opposite-handed pitcher. However, this is not the only reason why they are going to be great as hitters.
For starters, you have the positioning. Due to the way in which a left-handed player holds their bat, they are going to be one step closer to the first base. You probably don’t need us to tell you that this is going to instantly put the left-handed hitter at a speed advantage. That one step could mean the difference between hitting that base safely or having to leave the field looking rather downtrodden.
The way in which a left-handed player turns will also give them an advantage when they hit the ball. They are basically turning toward the first base. Right-handed players don’t get this advantage.
Left-handed hitters will also find it easier to get the ball landing in positions that the outfield players are not used to dealing with. Again, there is going to be a bit of a speed advantage here. The slower the outfield players are at reaching the ball, the more chance the left-handed hitter has of reaching a base…or maybe heading to the next base along.
Why Is There No Left-handed Shortstop?
This is a pretty easy question to answer.
There are no left-handed shortstops because of the areas that the shortstop needs to throw the ball. 99% of the time, that shortstop is going to need to be throwing the ball toward first base.
If a left-handed player was playing shortstop, then they will have to turn their body to toss the ball toward first base. They will also need to throw the ball across their body, which can result in a rather lackluster throw.
As has been a pretty common theme throughout this article; speed is everything in a game of baseball. If there is anything that is liable to slow a player down, then they are going to be at an inherent disadvantage.
Do bear in mind that the MLB has seen a few left-handed shortstop players. However, in almost all cases, these actually play right-handed.
Even if a left-handed player wanted to play shortstop, it is almost impossible. While many baseball equipment manufacturers do make baseball gloves for left-handed throwers, they don’t make equipment for left-handed shortstops. That is how rare the position is.
Are There Any Left Handed Second Baseman in MLB?
You’re not likely to find a lefty second baseman. Turning the pivot in a double play is pretty awkward for a left-handed-handed throwing second baseman. In fact, you won’t find a lefty third baseman either as the throw to first for a lefty charging a bunt from third base is extremely difficult.
In Major League Baseball since 1950, only four left-handed players have played second base.
What is the Easiest Position in Baseball?
There are no ‘easy’ positions in baseball. Every player on that field is going to have a role to play, no matter which position they are playing in. Still, there are some positions for left-handed players that are a little bit easier than others. Two, in fact.
Generally speaking, the first-base position is not going to be the easier position in the game. That position is going to be involved in almost every single play. You need to be constantly switched on.
However, first base is nothing more than catching and throwing. If you can nail catching and throwing, then you will pretty much thrive when you play in a first-base position. Remember; this is a position that is pretty much always going to be favored by left-handed players anyway. Right-handed players will often struggle.
Right field players really get to kick back and relax (although, please do not do that literally!)
Most hitters are right-handed. This means that the ball is pretty much always going to be sent sailing toward the right-field if it is not picked up along the way. The right field players often find that they need to do a lot less running around in order to grab those balls.
Although, do bear in mind that if you are a left-handed player, then you may struggle in the right field if you do not have a strong throwing arm. You may actually find that the left-field position is a little bit easier for you to deal with.
Left-handed players are really suited to just three positions on the field. However, the positions that they are suited for are often positions where right-handed players would struggle. So, if you are a left-handed player, then you may want to look into first base, pitching, or playing on the left-hand side of the field (although, most outfield positions are fine).